There's a dog on my street with dementia.
A few times recently, I've arrived home to find this dog loping up the driveway from my garden out back. She gives me a baleful look as she passes me and then trots into the next driveway. Moments later she emerges in the driveway of the house beyond. This dog has forgotten where she lives.
The first time this happened, I caught up with her and read her tag and rang her owner. She lives about 20 houses down the street and has an infant who takes up all her attention. Apparently this dog is old and just doesn't recognise her home any more. This isn't just a stray - you can tell as soon as you see her. There's a look of dull panic in her eyes that I've seen in Mum's on occasion. This dog keeps in motion because she knows that something isn't right. There's a robotic quality to her relentless search for something she has forgotten. The normal doggy responses are missing: stop her and she stands unresponsive as you pet her, waiting to resume her search. Walk with her up the street and she tries every driveway along the way unless encouraged onwards. Her own home is greeted with no more enthusiasm than any other.
Meeting her again this week felt like a nudge from the universe.